Bermuda miss out on Davis Cup promotion despite spirited display
Bermuda missed out on promotion to Davis Cup World Group II despite a spirited qualifying campaign, finishing sixth overall in the Americas Group III.
Competing alongside Bahamas, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago and US Virgin Islands in Panama; Bermuda were aiming to finish as one of the two-best placed or, best second placed nation from the three groups, to reach the promotion play-offs.
However; despite finishing second overall in Pool B, behind Costa Rica and ahead of Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda agonisingly missed out a play-off spot; with Guatemala securing the final berth as best second best placed team, joining group winners Costa Rica, Bahamas and Jamaica in progressing.
That left Bermuda in the fifth-place play-off in which they suffered defeat to Puerto Rico, with Trey Mallory losing 6-4, 6-4, to Ignacio Garcia and Tariq Simons going down 6-4, 6-0, to Quinton Vega.
Ultimately it was Jamaica and Guatemala who sealed promotion to the World Group II after overcoming Bahamas and Costa Rica in their respective play off matches, both claiming 2-0 victories.
Despite the disappointment of not reaching the play-off stages, the Bermuda team made up of Gavin Manders, James Finnigan, Simons and Mallory can look back on an encouraging overall campaign.
It started with the team rewriting the history books by recording a first ever victory against Honduras in the Davis Cup.
Mallory kicked off proceedings with a straight sets 7-6, 6-4 success over Keny Turcios before Honduras pulled level as Alejandro Obando Maldonado overcame Simons 6-1, 6-3. However, Finnigan and Manders secured the 2-1 victory by prevailing against Obando Maldonado and Ricardo Lau Cooper, 6-1, 6-2 in the doubles.
Building on that momentum, Bermuda secured a second successive victory in a 3-0 clean sweep of Trinidad and Tobago. Again it was Mallory who got the team off to the ideal start, beating Ebolum Pastor Nwokolo 6-0, 7-5, before Simons doubled the advantage, easing past Patrick Nkrumah 6-0, 6-0.
It proved a tougher task for Manders and Finnigan in the doubles but they battled through to claim a 7-6, 7-6 win over Nkrumah and Kamran Curtis McIntosh-Ross, to wrap up the comfortable overall victory.
The final pool match pitted the two unbeaten nations against each other in a top of the table clash with Costa Rica. Bermuda got off to an encouraging start as Mallory successfully came through a bruising clash with Sebastian Quiros to ultimately prevail 7-5, 6-7, 6-2.
Costa Rica responded in the second singles match as Simons fell to a straight set 6-2, 6-1 defeat to Jessee Armando Flores Knowles. Coming down to the decisive doubles match, Costa Rica clinched the overall victory as Flores Knowles and Pablo Nunez sealed a hard-fought 6-4, 6-3 success over Manders and Finnigan.
Despite Costa Rica clinching the automatic play-off spot after topping the group, Bermuda still had hopes of progressing as the best second placed nation. However, the team were pipped by Guatemala, who claimed the final play-off spot on calculations from their performance in Pool A.